Taliban militants outside the airport in Kabul Sunday fired into the air and beat back crowds desperate to flee Afghanistan — one day after seven people were crushed to death near the airfield in the fractured nation.
The militants used batons to beat back the surging Afghan crowds and force them into queues amid growing panic at the airport — where a tense understanding between US and Taliban forces appears to be holding for now.
Some 5,800 US forces have been brought in to secure the airport while the extreme Islamic militants remain outside controlling crowds of panicked Afghans trying to leave.
“We are seeking complete clarity on foreign forces’ exit plan,” one Taliban official told Reuters. “Managing chaos outside Kabul airport is a complex task.”
At least 20 people have died in and around the airport in the last week, including seven on Saturday, a NATO official told the outlet.
US officials said 17,000 people have been evacuated from the airport in the past week, including 2,500 Americans — but thousands more remain in and around the airport.
Australian officials said four flights were sent into Kabul on Saturday and evacuated more than 300 people, while the Netherlands said it would increase its military presence in Afghanistan to help with continuing evacuation efforts.
US Army Major General William Taylor said the airfield “remains secure” for now.
With Post wires